April 18, 2017 at 3:11 PM #1736
My friend recently got engaged. We’ve been friends for 10 years and I’ve noticed a pattern that when she gets into a serious relationship she falls of the grid a little and focuses most of her energy on her significant other. For example, I asked her if she and her fiancé would like to go to an event at an art museum with me this Friday. I mentioned it a couple of weeks in advance, it’s $12.00 at the door, and we’ve all enjoyed these particular events in the past.
She messaged me back saying (and I quote), “Yes!! We are down! Can’t wait!!”
I checked in with her last night and asked about it and she changed her tune saying her fiancé had a busy week ahead of him and would most likely want to relax on Friday. I guess us two girls going without him for a few hours was not an option?
Well, later in the night she surprised me with a card and gift bag. In the card it asked if I would be a bridesmaid in her wedding and she included several wedding related gifts (hair ties that say “help me tie the knot” and nail polish to wear at the wedding). I legitimately am excited for my friend and honored to have been asked to be part of her wedding. I told her the gift bag was very thoughtful and creative and made an off-handed comment of, “I’ll have to post a picture! I’m so excited!”
When I got home I did take a quick picture of the outside of the gift bag, the front of the card, and one of the gifts items inside. I made a brief social media status that I was asked to be a bridesmaid and was very excited to be part of her big day.
Early this morning she texted me asking if I could take my post down because they wanted it to be a surprise for the other girls that hadn’t been asked yet (which confused me a little because she told me everyone that was going to be in the wedding party and I’m not actually friends on social media with anyone of the people being asked, nor have I talked to any of them before). But anyways, I deleted my post.
I love my friends. I really do. I’m just really feeling the reality of our differences right now and our priorities as someone who is single (me) and someone who is in a serious relationship (her). :(April 19, 2017 at 10:32 AM #1738
@courtney550 Ask Polly published a column last week that very closely addresses what you’re feeling. She expresses a way forward far better than I ever could.
But on a very basic level, I completely relate to what you’re feeling. I’ve been a bridesmaid more than once. One of the women completely dropped me like a hot potato and moved cross country after the wedding and hasn’t kept in touch at all. It’s hard when you devote a lot of time and money and energy to celebrating a friend’s marriage, while you’re coping with your own loneliness. Furthermore, you feel like they don’t celebrate your own milestones. I bought 2 pieces of property at different times by the time I turned 30, and any housewarming gifts I’ve received go along the lines of this — a small vase, plastic plates and cups for my deck, etc. Or in most cases, no gift at all. It’s not that the gifts received aren’t appreciated, but people just don’t place the same value on this as they do celebrating your wedding. It’s not completely their fault. It’s our culture.
The best I can say is that if no one is willing to celebrate our successes, then you have to celebrate them yourself. When something is really important to you, share it with your friends. Be vulnerable with them and let them know when you’re hurting.April 20, 2017 at 10:31 PM #1741
Beachbum: The column you posted and the personal experience you shared completely hit home for me! This is EXACTLY how I’ve been feeling for awhile now, I just haven’t been able to articulate what’s causing it.
To be honest, I feel conflicted about having accepted my friend’s invitation to be a bridesmaid because I think she’ll “drop me like a hot potato” once the wedding is over. This year I moved into my first apartment alone. I’m almost 29 and had lived with family, roommates, and one significant other before that. Getting my own place for the first time was a big marker of my independence and a step in my personal journey. I moved to a new neighborhood, bought new furnishings, and celebrated this milestone.
The friend who asked me to be in the wedding lives across the street from me and she did not offer to help with the move and she did not initiate coming over to see my apartment. A full month after I moved in and had been asking her to literally walk across the street to see my place, she finally squeezed in one evening where she came over for three hours.
I feel like I’m the friend who is always available. I’m always the reliable, “just a phone call away” friend. I feel like I’m just a prop in her wedding because we’ve known each other for 10 years. She said once the wedding is over they’ll be moving out of state to Chicago and they want to have kids within a couple years of getting married. Based on our friendship pattern now (without her being married, living nearby, and having no kids), I don’t believe she’ll stay in close contact with me.
So why am I doing this? Being a bridesmaid in a wedding is kind of an investment. You’re investing a lot of time, money, energy, and resources into your friendship. If the effort is not being reciprocated, then what’s the point?
But then the answer section to the column brings up some interesting points, like this quote: “You’ve decided that people can either be amazing friends or they can get cut out. You are very attached to the idea of an unfair, insensitive, ungrateful mob of friends that you’ve given too much to. This story didn’t spring up out of thin air.”
So reading that I wonder if maybe I should give my friend a break and just accept this is life?April 21, 2017 at 6:13 PM #1742
I’m glad the advice column was helpful! For me personally, if I felt like a prop in someone’s wedding, I just wouldn’t take part in it. But it’s entirely up to you. I think I’m just at a point in my life where I’m exhausted by bull**** and just can’t take it any more. Everyone has their limits. Maybe yours haven’t been reach yet, I don’t know.
The quote you mentioned gets to the heart of this issue — we’re all attached to the stories we tell about ourselves. Maybe in this case, you’re attached to the story that says you’re still single, your friend is getting married, and she’s neglecting you, and in a way, using you, as her bridesmaid. How can you reframe the story? If you’re going to commit to being in the wedding, how can you do so happily? For me, I’d just see it as a night to get all glammed up, hopefully get a little tipsy, and meet some new people.May 10, 2017 at 3:48 AM #1751
@courtney550 and @beachbum, weddings stir up such a complicated mix of emotions sometimes, don’t they? I can really relate to what both of you wrote and how hard it can be to feel like you’re in a different stage of life from your friends. I definitely felt that way when most of my friends were getting married, and then again a second time when they all started having kids. I love the advice beachbum gave about reframing the story, that if you’re going to be part of the wedding to try to see the experience as something positive for yourself. I’ve been a bridesmaid a few times, and for whatever it’s worth, when I look back on those weddings today (5-10 years later), I’m happy I was in them. While there were times I felt conflicted and those friendships have changed to some degree since then, when I think about those weddings now I mostly just remember the good stuff. There were some really fun experiences associated with them, and in some ways I feel like they’ve kept me closer to those friends moving forward as our lives have continued to change. I know every situation and every friendship is different, but if you’re still feeling conflicted, Courtney, maybe that helps a little bit. Have you decided what you’re going to do yet?May 15, 2017 at 3:26 AM #1753
Mariposa and Beachbum, thank you for the responses. I agree that reframing the story and focusing on the positive may be the best thing to do in my situation. I decided to stay in the wedding party and try to have a go with the flow attitude.
So I live in a fairly populated city and went out last night and saw three different bachelorette parties. I also saw an engagement announcement today on social media. Wedding season is gearing up and I’ll be a guest at three weddings this summer.
I’m trying to look on the bright side. Keyword: trying. I know I sound like a broken record, it’s just something I want so badly for myself. I want a companion. I want someone to tell me they want to spend the rest of their life with me and mean it. I want to be able to look down on my hand and see a piece of jewelry that I know someone picked out special for me with the intention of making a beautiful and loving commitment (I don’t even care if it’s a diamond, I just like the symbolism of a ring. It doesn’t have to be expensive or showy.)
With today also being Mother’s Day I was thinking about my current situation of not being married or having plans to start a family of my own. It’s a difficult feeling for me. Just needed to vent…May 16, 2017 at 3:19 AM #1758
Courtney, I totally hear you on the trying. I was feeling pretty down yesterday too, between Mother’s Day and attending a wedding on Saturday. So much to celebrate and be grateful for, but also lots of mixed feelings as a result. I just keep telling myself that it only takes a day for life to completely change, and you never know who or what might be around the corner. Hope your day today was a little better.July 27, 2017 at 3:51 AM #1823
I’m really late in replying to this and really wanted to so here I am.
Courtney, I’m really sorry about everything your friend said and did. At the risk of sounding like a cynic who hates everyone (which is only true sometimes lol), I feel she isn’t really a great friend. If I were to judge the friendship just on what you told me, she was treating you like a placeholder until she had a man in her life. And that’s not to say that priorities don’t change when people marry, especially when kids come into the picture, but she was doing this even before marriage. I’ve come to terms with the fact that some friends just don’t value female relationships the way that I do…that if they were to have a man in their life, that would be enough. I’ve had to make peace with it and redefine our friendship as one that will be very superficial, and as such, I don’t really expect to be able to depend on them, lean on them for comfort, or expect any empathy. And to me, she clearly wasn’t showing any empathy.
When one of my good friends got engaged, we had a long, open and very honest conversation about what it meant because she’s so much younger than me and wasn’t even looking. She was so compassionate and empathetic then and even later when I was having a rough day and needed to talk.
Good friends are hard to find, great friends even harder. I think even married people (like Sara!) can relate, act kindly and empathize if they had that in them and the truth is, some people don’t.
As hard as it is to watch someone get what you want, I think someone said it really well, that you don’t really know the whole story. A lot of people settle because they just can’t stand the thought of being “like us”: single and yearning.
All we can do is work on our own hearts, be grateful for what we have and don’t have (ex-husbands!).
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